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Portable vs Built in Humidifiers: Which is Best?

Dry air, especially in colder climates, can contribute to dry skin, chapped lips and dry sinuses. Adding moisture and heat to the air through a humidifier can help with this.
9-1 Humidifiers
Credit: Pixabay

Humidifiers can also help you breathe easier if you have a cold or suffer from allergies. However, humidifiers must be maintained at certain temperatures and cleaned often as a dirty humidifier can promote poor indoor air quality and breed mold and bacteria. It can be a tricky balance, but the pros outweigh the cons if dry indoor air is an issue in your home.

There are two options for installing a humidifier: portable and built-in. Which is best?

Built-in Humidifiers

Built-ins are a household appliance that are integrated into the HVAC and plumbing system. Thanks to this integration, they humidify every room in the home evenly. They require little maintenance other than cleaning (and checking for mineral deposits if you have hard water) and they are quite energy efficient – you won’t notice a big bump on your energy bill. However, these are best installed professionally and can be costly (depending on the unit you choose) to purchase.

Portable Humidifiers

Portables are convenient because they come in a variety of sizes. You can get a small one for your desk or a standing model to humidify a room. Some have a spot to add essential oils, which is wonderful when you have a cold. A little eucalyptus oil can help you breathe easier! Or, some citrus oil can add a bright note to a room in the winter. These units can be moved from room to room as needed and are basically “plug and play.” The drawback is the need to be filled, cleaned and maintained often. Some have filters, which come at a cost to replace. They also tend to be noisy, especially when compared to a built-in unit. You can pick up a portable quite cheaply at any home goods store, but the trade off is maintaining it.

So, which is Better?

The answer depends entirely on your needs. If dry air is affecting your health, consider a built-in. If you only need a humidifier when you have a cold or stuffy nose, a portable will do the job. If you don’t want to do the maintenance, there are several cost-effective entry built-in models available. If you want a humidifier that can go room to room with you, choose a portable.

No matter which one you choose, when set up and maintained properly, you will benefit from the warmer, moister air.

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